Monday, June 08, 2015

Floating Farms

Over the years socialists have encountered numerous innovations that could improve the world but usually the lack of investment due to lack of profit puts an end to their development despite what could have been a potential value and benefit to society.

Smart Floating Farms (SFF) are “automated offshore multi-layer food and energy production platforms.” Far from being a gimmick for the future the idea  was inspired by the past such as the Mayan agriculture of Chinampas. Also called “floating gardens,” these artificial islands are built on freshwater lakes using layers of vegetation and mud. The wet environment allows for a cycle of decomposition and irrigation which fertilises the soil, creating a productive area for agriculture. Developed in ancient times by the 14th century, Aztecs had turned most of the Lake of Xochimilco into one big floating garden, which allowed them to support up to 230,000 people. Some Chinampas still exist today.

So how does a modern floating farm actually work?

The three-story system is made up of a range of farming facilities. The lower level, or basement level, is closed off from the outside environment and primarily used for fishing operations. There are also boat docks, shipping and storage areas, and a processing plant.
On the second floor is the automated hydroponics, which uses nutrient-rich water and a soil-like base of rock wool, coconut wool, or clay (instead of soil) to feed plants and crops. No rain is required, nor fertile land—just treated water.
And finally, on the top floor is the solar plant, a hub of fans, microclimate controls, and irrigation tools. This is where the nitty gritty business of waste and energy management takes place, including bio-digesters, water recycling, and organic energy creation.

With its aquaculture (fish), hydroponics (crops), and photovoltaics (solar power) the SFF could produce food 365 days a year regardless of water scarcity, drought, and even natural disasters. The design offers a continuous food supply and an estimated annual yield of 8152 tons of vegetables and 1703 tons of fish.

They would be readily available for mega cities of the future with access to water or inland lakes or rivers, which includes pretty much everywhere. If you look at a successful hydroponic salad and fresh produce growing enterprises all the technology and expertise that exists to make it a commercial reality, floating farms could potentially offer a sustainable way of growing more local, healthy food. It is not meant to ‘solve’ all of humanity’s hunger problems or to replace existing traditional agriculture but to open a new initiative which can be complementary and compatible with other existing production methods in order to help reduce food risk associated problems in different areas of the globe.

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